It was 31 years ago this April when I was attending Utah State University and playing in an intramural soccer tournament with friends from my Mountain View dorm. We had a really good team and didn’t take ourselves too seriously so we were having a blast.
I remember one glorious moment etched in memory when one of our games went to penalty kicks after regulation time ended in a tie. Each team chose 5 players to take a shot at the other team’s goalie and see which team would score most out of 5 attempts to determine the winner.
Each goalie alternatively went to the net and then walked back toward the middle of the field. As a player from the other side returned toward the middle of the field after taking his shot, and I started approaching the goal from where I stood to take my shot, I heard the other player say to his goalie, “whichever way he looks first, go the other way.”
I kept walking toward the goal area, set down the soccer ball on the PK line, looked right, and shot right. The goalie barely had time to realize as he moved in the other direction that the ball wasn’t going that way. Lesson 1: never tell your opponent your strategy. :)
It was just a week or 2 after this game that I think we made it to the semi-finals. The game was going well and the other team was good. One player in particular was very good and I remember challenging him frequently to try and shut him down from scoring.
As the game went on, I remember we both went up for an air ball and I won the leap and headed the ball away.
As I came down, the cleat on the bottom of my soccer shoe caught on the other player’s shin guard and turned my foot inward. I landed with all my weight on the outside of my right foot and thought it was strange that there was a loud “POP” noise around that same moment.
I didn’t have time to think about it. The ball I had headed away way was played by someone and started coming back toward me. I raced toward it and booted it down the field away from our goal area. As soon as I kicked the ball, I realized something wasn’t right.
I looked down at my foot and saw that my ankle was about an inch to the outside of where it should have been. That was a bit alarming, and I realized it explained that popping noise I’d heard…
I jumped on one foot over to the sideline and one of my friends ran to the cafeteria next door to get a bag of ice.
A trip to the doctor followed and I was grateful I didn’t break my ankle. It was just an incredibly bad sprain. Almost my whole foot turned a deep shade of purple, black, and blue. It was pretty impressive.
On the downside, there was really nothing medically that could be done except to wrap it to reduce the swelling, and wait for everything to heal.
Thus began my campus life experience on crutches. Not many people get to experience the joy of short breaks between classes across campus when you’re on crutches.
I don’t recall exactly how long I was on crutches, perhaps a month, but getting to classes became a new challenge. It was not fun getting around this way, at least at first.
One day I discovered something. I could use one crutch to support a jump from my left foot, then land and jump with my left foot and the other crutch. I could essentially run on crutches! All I needed was a costume to look like some bizarre Jim Henson creature from the Dark Crystal as I raced across campus leaping from one crutch to the other.
It worked really well…though I must admit I did have a couple embarrassing wipe outs, and probably a few close calls trying to stop really fast if someone came around a corner unexpectedly. Stopping was a little harder than starting thanks to momentum. :)
About a month into my ordeal, I remember going to church (walking normally with the crutches) and we had a testimony meeting. As I was sitting there, something struck me about the way atheists mock Christians. As I reflected on it, I felt moved to share my testimony.
I arose and went to the front of the room where we were meeting, I think it was in the gym for some reason. I then proceeded to say something to this effect.
“For some time I have heard atheists proclaim that believing in God is just a crutch for the weak. I am here to confirm that Jesus is my crutch. When I am wounded, I need a crutch to heal. I could not walk or put pressure on my foot without making this injury worse. It is only because of this crutch that I can walk. Jesus is my crutch. When I am spiritually wounded, and can’t move forward, he is my help and my support. I cannot do anything without him.”
Since that day I have always remembered this lesson God let me learn. I know I cannot do anything without God. There is no true victory in life without Jesus by our side. He is and will continue to always be my crutch.
And now, as Paul Harvey would say, the rest of the story…
Here I am 31 years later. I still play soccer, having organized an adult co-ed summer soccer league for the past 18 years. Every game I put on ankle braces to support that old wounded ankle. It was never the same after that accident, perhaps because my young ignorance got me back to playing soccer too soon before the injury was fully recovered so I continued to mildly injure it over and over.
It’s a frequent reminder that some wounds we carry with us, hidden to the world, but powerful reminders of lessons learned by divine tutoring.
Now, what do you do with a story like that in Scripture Notes? You have an opportunity to record your stories like journal entries and associate them with scriptures and tag them for finding them later.
Lets say at some point in the future, I am asked to give a talk. If I save this story into a Collection Note (CN) and associate it with scriptures and tags, it will make it much easier to find in the future and I’ve already got a story to share in that talk.
For this story, I will create a CN from verses in the Topical Guide and Index to the Triple Combination on subjects like Strength, Support, Uphold, and others that come up as related topics, and bulk move the verses into the CN.
I would give it tags like Soccer, Personal Story, Strength, Support, and Crutch, so I can find it in my Tag Tree, and give it a category of Personal Experience.
Doing those things will make it easy to find or stumble upon the story in the future.
I’m sure you’ve got personal stories you can also record and liken to the scriptures. I encourage you to write those stories down. Put them in your journal, but also put them in your Scripture Notes associating them with verses. Not only does it make it easier to find later, but you will gain added insights about your story as you review the scriptures that identify God’s touch in your life.
It’s a remarkable experience to match the scriptures with your experiences. You should try it. Write the story, then start searching.
(Featured image by Choat at 123rf.com)
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